Bears top Lakers, Purple Knights on first day of VPI Tourney


POTSDAM, N.Y.—The SUNY Potsdam volleyball team fought their way to two victories on Friday night in the first round of the Victory Promotions Invitational. The Bears beat back Oswego State for a 3-1 win and rallied for a 3-2 victory against Saint Michael's College.

Potsdam breezed past the Lakers in the first set, 25-14. Oswego answered in kind with a 25-16 win in the second set. The Bears then outworked the Lakers for 25-22 and 25-19 victories in the final two sets.

“I thought we came out in the first set and played at a high level,” said Bears Head Coach Steve Pike. “They came out and were scrappy in the second set. I've got to give them credit. Their defense improved and they came back with some speed on the ball. It really got us out of system, so I was glad to see our girls fight through that. Sometimes you've just got to keep fighting when things aren't going your way. It's a sign of pretty good team when you're able to do that.”

The Bears rallied past the Purple Knights, 25-23, in the first set of their second match, but lost junior right side Dakota Pruiss to injury. Potsdam struggled to recover over the next two sets, falling 25-15 and 25-16.

“Tia (Wright) came in after we lost Dakota and did a great job for us,” Pike said. The girls really executed to finish that set. We were just trying to find ways to battle with them and score and we couldn't quite do that in sets two and three.”

Down midway through the fourth set, Potsdam got an offensive boost from junior middle hitter Sara Anderson and strong defense from senior middle hitter Kayla Howard and freshman right side Rachel Auerbach.

“We switched our lineup a little bit,” added Pike. “Sara came in and played a position she doesn't normally play. We brought her in the front row and she scored well for us. We needed someone that could bring some offense on the outside and so I thought 'let's see what she can do for us'. Kayla and Rachel picked up the hitters in the fourth and fifth sets and made some huge blocks.”

The adjustments worked as Potsdam bounced back for 25-21 and 15-11 victories. Statistics were unavailable at the time of this release.

The Bears (4-3) face tough test tomorrow against Southern Vermont at 11:30 a.m. and SUNY Plattsburgh at 1:30 p.m. Live video of both games will be streamed on the Web at